Wilmington Police Department looking to educate drivers through “Speed a Little, Lose a Lot” campaign

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina’s annual “Speed a Little, Lose a Lot” campaign kicked off today, aiming to educate about the dangers of speeding.

The campaign runs all the way through this holiday weekend (ending on the 17th), with law enforcement using marked and unmarked cars along with police motorcycles to crack down on speeders.

North Carolina has an “absolute” speeding law, meaning you can be pulled over for going just one mile per hour over the speed limit, although the Wilmington Police Department says it’s up to each officer’s discretion.

Michael Brannon with the Wilmington Police Department’s Traffic Unit say it’s important for drivers to understand the dangers of exceeding the posted speed.

“Drive safe. You are not going to get to your destination any faster in our city,” Brannon said. “We have one of the smallest counties in the state. Even a little bit of speeding, you’re not going to gain any time whatsoever. So just get to your destination safely.”

According to the NCDOT, motorists don’t save time by speeding up. For instance, it takes just 49 seconds longer to travel two miles at 45 mph than it does if you’re going 65 mph.

Former NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte says the general public doesn’t have the training to drive at high speeds. “The skill level you need to control a car at high speeds takes a lot of practice, and you have to know your ability and limitations,” said Labonte. “Racecars are built strong and for safety, and I have equipment like a helmet and fireproof suit that you don’t have when you’re driving a street car. That’s why we have speed limits and need to follow them. I’m always aware of that when I’m on the road.”

Mark Ezzell, director of the NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program, says the speeding problem has progressively been getting worse.  “Over the past few years, North Carolina has seen an alarming uptick in speed-related crashes,” Ezzell said. “Motorists are too often using the roads as their own personal NASCAR tracks, and vehicle crash deaths have skyrocketed in the past few years. As the weather warms and vacation season approaches, let’s all do our parts to keep each other safe and avoid tragedy on our roadways.”

The faster a vehicle travels, the more likely it is to be involved in a fatal crash. A crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or higher is five times as likely as a road where the speed limit is below 40 mph.

As always, the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program encourages motorists to slow down, buckle up and never drive distracted or impaired.

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